Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Rise of the Social Media Aggregator

I think that it goes without saying that there is a tremendous impact that social media is playing right now on the Internet. Checking out the identity and entertainment lines on my favorite metro style web trends map shows how sites like Twitter, Facebook, Hi5, Bebo, Freindster, Plaxo, Orkut, and Friendfeed take up a considerable amount of the online traffic. Social media features are permeating almost every aspect of both corporate and consumer computing. Many users leverage multiple social networking sites such as 43% of Hi5 users also use MySpace and Facebook users tend to use 2.9 major social networking sites on average.

So, it should come as no surprise that there is now a plethora of applications presenting an aggregated view of multiple social networking sites. Apparently, it must make sense that the more sophisticated and active social networkers want a single UX that works across (and unifies) multiple, heterogeneous social networks.

I guess that the grand-father of this genus would be TweetDeck. They have versions for the Mac, PC, Linux, iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad and support for the Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Linked In, Google Buzz, and Foursquare networks.

Hootsuite is targeting the more dedicated media professional. They do support an aggregated UX for Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In. Their forte is a deeper integration and extension of Twitter with features for statistics, lists, workflow, and brand monitoring.

Digsby combines email, instant messaging, and social media aggregation. They support Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Linked In.

Gwibber GUI

Even the open source folks are getting into the act. Gwibber is a micro-blogging client for an aggregated experience with Twitter,, StatusNet, Facebook, Flickr, Digg, FriendFeed, and Qaiku. I recently ran across Gwibber because it comes pre-installed on the latest LTS (Long Term Support) release of Ubuntu, still the most popular distro for Linux users.

Since social media users appear to want a unified experience in their micro-blogging, how long will it be before there is a recognized need for a unified social profile? I suspect that it will be something beyond what Disqus and Gravatar can provide. Will Google's OpenSocial initiative satisfy that need?

What other brewing trends can you spot amongst the social media set?